Alternative Production
Systems for Farmers
with Disabilities
Local Food and Beyond
Learning Objectives
1. Learn about small scale and
alternative ag production methods
2. See examples of small scale and
alternative production methods used
in Kansas
3. Discuss possibilities for your states
and identify resources
Why this topic at this time?
• United States Department of Agriculture
Economic Research Service (USDA ERS)
Report
– January 2013
– Food Insecurity Among Households With
Working-Age Adults With Disabilities
• There is a strong association between disability and
food insecurity
• 33.5% of households with an adult who is not in the
workforce because of disability are food insecure
Why this topic at this time?
• Veterans
– Gulf Wars I and II have resulted in 1.6 million veterans who
fought for America and survived.
– Approximately 10% of post-9/11 veterans are officially
classified as disabled.
– About 45% of veterans are seeking disability benefits from the
Veterans Affairs (VA) Department.
– 3.5 million = total number of veterans with a serviceconnected disability
– The unemployment rate for Gulf War I and II veterans hovers
around 9%; some sources put it closer to 20%
Total population of veterans is >21.5 million;
1.6 million of whom are female.
Source: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
We Need More Farmers!
• Local Food Movement
– Consumer driven
– Opens new market opportunities for farmers
– Increases demand for new farmers
• Self Employment can be an excellent opportunity for
people with disabilities
In Kansas we don’t have enough produce to meet
the consumer demand at our largest farmer’s
markets.
Small Scale Ag &
Alternative Crops
• The Worldwatch Institute*: A move from
industrial farming towards local food projects is
our healthiest, most sustainable choice.
• Food waste – another reason for more local
growers
–
–
–
–
Prepared and not eaten
Damaged in transport
Spoilage
Unsold fresh produce in stores
*State of the World Report 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet
We Need More Growers!
• Can we (AgrAbility) help bridge the gaps
between:
– Americans with disabilities and food security
– AgrAbility customers and increased local food
supply
?
YES, WE CAN 
In fact, we’ve already started.
So let’s look at some types of alternative
food production and niche markets that can
and do work for people with disabilities.
Because small-scale farming is an excellent
self employment option!
Small Scale/Alternative Options
• Traditional Fruits
– Tree fruits (apples, peaches, pears, cherries)
– Bramble fruits (blackberries, raspberries)
– Small fruits (blueberries, strawberries)
• Specialty Fruits
–
–
–
–
Figs (growing zones 6-9)
Elderberries (growing zones 4-8)
Currents (growing zones 3-7)
Kiwi (growing zones 5-8)
• Herbs – culinary and medicinal
Small Scale/Alternative Options
• Traditional Vegetables
– Tomatoes
– Peppers
– Squash
• Specialty Vegetables
– Miniature and/or colored anything
• Yellow or purple carrots; 8-ball zucchini; yellow beets
– Ethnic vegetables – varies by location and local
ethnic population
• Bok Choy and other Choys
• Chinese cabbage
Source: USDA, Alternative Crops & Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification
Small Scale/Alternative Options
• Animals (protein)
– Game-related – buffalo, deer, fish bait,
pheasant, quail
– Minor Breeds – goats, sheep, rabbits
– Poultry – chickens, ducks, pigeons
– Aquaculture – tilapia, shrimp
Conventional OR Organic?
It’s up to the producer and the consumer
Source: USDA, Alternative Crops & Enterprises for Small Farm Diversification
Examples – Niche Markets
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples – Niche Markets
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples – Niche Markets
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Examples
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1mL8G0iRWc&feature=youtu.be
Source: Kansas AgrAbility Project
Resources
United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) – www.usda.gov
– Alternative Farming Systems Information
Center, http://afsic.nal.usda.gov
– National Agricultural Library
• Alternative Crops & Enterprises for Small Farm
Diversification,
http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/altlist.shtml
– Start2Farm, http://start2farm.gov/
– Farm Service Agency, http://www.fsa.usda.gov
Resources
For Veterans
– Information for Veterans
• http://www.outreach.usda.gov/veterans.htm
– Farmer Veteran Coalition, http://www.farmvetco.org/
• Veteran Careers in Agriculture: A Resource Guide,
AgrAbility featured on Page 31
– Combat Boots to Cowboy Boots, http://ncta.unl.edu/
• Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, Curtis, NE
– 100 Beef Cow Advantage Program
– 100 Acre Farm Advantage Program
Resources
• ATTRA – National Sustainable Agriculture
Information Center
– https://attra.ncat.org/
• Sustainable Agriculture Research and
Education (SARE)
– http://www.sare.org/
• eXtension (virtual Extension office)
– http://www.extension.org/
Local Resources
• USDA County Offices
– Farm Service Agency (FSA)
– Rural Development (RD)
– Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
• County/Area Extension Offices
– Master Gardener Programs
– Community Garden Program
– Farmers Market Information
Local Resources
• State Department of Agriculture
• State SARE Coordinator
• State Commission/Department of Veterans
Affairs
• Small Business Development Centers
• State Farm Organizations
– Farmers Union
– Small / Sustainable Farmers Associations
Kerri Ebert
Kansas AgrAbility Project
[email protected]
http://agrability.bae.ksu.edu
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Examples – Niche Markets - National AgrAbility Project